By Tia Lynn Ivey
Just two Morgan County election officials are conducting a machine recount of all ballots cast in the 2020 Presidential Election this week.
As of press time on Tuesday, Dec. 1, Elections Director Jennifer Doran was halfway done tabulating more than 11,000 votes cast in Morgan County.
“There are two of us – me and a scanner operator scanning the ballots,” said Doran Tuesday afternoon, estimating the recount would be done before the state’s deadline on Wednesday, Dec. 2 by midnight. “The process is going very smoothly so far, and we have not had any unexpected issues come up. Between the hand count audit that we did a couple weeks ago and the recount we are conducting right now, I think the results accurately reflect the votes that were cast by our voters.”
Doran addressed the rampant rumors of voter fraud, dispelling any accusation of foul play involved in Morgan County’s election process.
“There has been a lot of talk of fraud regarding absentee ballots and the signatures, so I wanted to address it,” said Doran. “Voters’ signatures have been verified by our office before the ballots are accepted and counted. Our office checks the voter’s signature when they apply for an absentee ballot, and then we check the voter’s signature on the ballot envelope when it is returned. If the signatures do not match, there is a signature cure process for the voter.”
The latest recount was requested by President Donald Trump due to President-Elect Joe Biden’s margin of victory in Georgia being under 0.5 percent. It is the President’s legal right to request a recount after the vote has been certified when the race outcome is under half a percentage point. All Georgia counties are conducting a machine recount this week of more than 5 million votes statewide, after performing a hand-recount mid-November. The cost to conduct the recount will be footed by Georgia taxpayers. The current vote count has Biden winning the Peach State by more than 12,000 votes. State election officials do not believe the latest recount will significantly alter Biden’s lead and believe Biden will retain Georgia’s 16 electoral votes.
According Doran, officials first conducted “logic and accuracy” testing on Wednesday, Nov. 25 before the recount began on Monday, Nov.30. During the logic and accuracy testing, a sample of cast ballots were scanned and then counted by hand to ensure the machines were tabulating correctly.
“The recount process is very different than the audit process. During a recount, we will feed all the ballots through a scanner and the scanner will tabulate the results. There is no hand counting during the recount, so the number of workers involved is much smaller,” explained Doran. Doran did not have an estimated cost for the upcoming recount. “This is the recount requested by President Trump due to his loss of within 0.5 percent of Joseph Biden. The last ‘recount’ we did was actually a pre-certification audit, which will be a part of the post-election/pre-certification process after every general election,” explained Doran.